Riverhead awarded $500K grant for downtown development

Downtown Riverhead development projects

Downtown Riverhead is getting a half-million dollar boost from New York State by way of a grant to revitalize the area.

Riverhead Town has been awarded $500,000 through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s RESTORE New York Communities Initiative grant program and is one of only three municipalities on Long Island to receive the funding, town officials said in a press release.

The grant will go toward the five-story, mixed-use apartment project proposed by Georgica Green Ventures and toward North South Development’s food market and production center, planned for the former West Marine building.

Supervisor Sean Walter said in a statement that getting state funding for the development projects is a major step forward in downtown revitalization efforts.

“We envision these projects will create a downtown Riverhead that is an international destination for its beauty, quality of life, dynamic attractions, history and sense of place built upon a small-town feel welcoming to anyone from local resident to international visitor,” Mr Walter said.

Over the years, the town has received state and federal funding for redevelopment efforts. Previous grants have gone toward the Hyatt Place East End, improvements to the riverfront and renovation work at the East End Arts buildings and historic Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.

Georgica Green Ventures president David Gallo described his company’s plan as an “essential piece of the puzzle” in turning downtown Riverhead into a thriving area.

“We are grateful to the governor’s office and the town for their support to help get this project underway,” Mr. Gallo said in a statement. “It will not only benefit the surrounding community of Riverhead, but will also have a tremendous impact on Long Island as a whole.”

In 2015, North South Development renovated the former Woolworth building, converting it into a gym, retail space and set of second-floor apartments.

Michael Butler, a managing partner at North South Development, noted in the town’s press release how the development has helped the town move further toward its downtown revitalization goal.

“Riverhead has undergone incredible revitalization over the past few years, but we need more attractions and activities to compliment the Long Aquarium, the Suffolk Theater and the great restaurants that will encourage people to come downtown,” Mr. Butler said. “We believe the Riverhead Food Hall and Market is exactly what is needed.”

Construction on both projects is scheduled to begin this year, town officials said.

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Courtesy renderings: (Left) Georgica Green mixed-use apartment buildings. (Right) Riverhead Food Hall and Market.